istock-myella-830195036.jpg
(Credit: Clare/iStockphoto)

There's an app for almost everything these days, so why wouldn't there be an app to help you stay off your phone? Digital wellness has been a popular topic with social media companies this past year. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all launched features to help users curb their screen time. But, the Flipd app (iOS, Android) lets you build up your "unplugged" tolerance. It's essentially a lock challenge that tests your self control. You can join or create friend groups and compete for extra motivation.

Flipd approaches taking a break from your screen like breaking a bad habit. Quitting cold-turkey works for mythical individuals with what legends call "will power." For the rest of us, it takes a bit more work.

SEE: New report says Americans spend an average of four hours on a mobile phone every day

Flipd lets you customize your experience from the start. After you download the app, you can select if you're using the app for school or to generally unplug. You can sign up for an account with email or Facebook.

The app offers different options for "casually locking" your phone to get you started:

  • Study -- one hour
  • Work -- four hours
  • Sleep -- eight hours
  • My Day -- 12 hours (with breaks)
  • Flipd180 -- go three hours straight daily
  • Custom -- set your time preference

Flipd also offers a Full Lock mode that hides your notifications and apps. You can still use your phone to make calls and send texts, but social media is locked until the clock runs out. Full Lock mode requires some set up.

If you close out of the clock before your time is up, Flipd asks if you're "giving up." To which you reply, "yup, I'm weak," or stick it out for the rest of the time. If you set it up for My Day, and select a break, Flipd will remind you frequently that you should come back.

Wired reports that Flipd requires "intention to use." It's easy to just shut it down, you have to want to make a change.

You can join or create groups to make unplugging a competition. In your group, Flipd ranks you based on how long you've gone unplugged.

Flipd records your stats, sort of like a Snapchat streak, tallying how many sessions you've completed and your best streak. All the time you've spent "Flipd off" is divided up into a pie chart.

The app claims to have already saved users more than 900 million minutes of distraction--that's the equivalent of more than 1,700 years.

The premium version offers a whopping 24-hour session among other features. There's a free trial of premium, then a monthly charge of $0.99 or $6.99 annually. Flipd is available specifically for work and school.

The app can help students stay focused, change behavior, promote insights into success, and let instructors track progress. If the app is used for businesses, it can help create a balance between technology and life, track employee engagement, and motivate employees with incentives.

Flipd's overall goal is to help you find balance and opportunities to explore things that make you happy. The app motivates you to take a moment away from your screen and social media. With enough practice, the app hopes to offer users the confidence to set down their phone without a reminder.

FOLLOW Download.com on Twitter for all the latest app news.

flipdd.jpg
(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)


Takeaways

  1. The Flipd app helps you cut back on social media time by setting a timed lock on your smartphone.
  2. You can customize the lock time for longer or shorter periods. The app tracks your times, records streaks, and lets you compete with friends in groups.

Also see:

Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.